PhD student in Isotope Geochemistry
Award-winning publication: Century-Long Source Apportionment of PAHs in Athabasca Oil Sands Region Lakes Using Diagnostic Ratios and Compound-Specific Carbon Isotope Signatures
Published in: Environmental Science & Technology, 47(12), 6155–6163, 2013
"The impact of oil sands development is controversial in terms of pollutants and atmospheric emissions of carcinogenic molecules. Carried out in a Canadian oil sands mining region, my study not only made it possible to reconstruct the history of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emissions since the earliest days of the mining industry, it also determined the various sources of these emissions. While it was widely known that mine refineries generate significant PAH emissions, molecular isotopic measurements revealed the major source of these emissions: the wind erosion of open-pit mines."
Josué Jautzy's research was conducted as part of a multidisciplinary federal program that aimed to distinguish the natural sources of pollutant emissions from those created by human activity. This rigorous environmental impact assessment and objective led to new and determining knowledge on oil sands development in Canada—an activity that continues to oppose environmental and oil industry lobbyists. In the long term, the work will support different levels of government in the implementation of atmospheric emissions regulation policies and environmental follow-ups for oil sands development projects.